Community mile marks Bannister record anniversary

Roger Bannister finishing the race during an athletics meeting at Oxford where he ran the world's first four minute mile
Sir Roger was a medical student in Oxford when he set the record [PA Media]

A university is marking the 70th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister running a mile in under four minutes with a mass running event.

Sir Roger was the first man to achieve the feat, which took place at the Iffley Road track at Oxford University on 6 May 1954.

The then-medical student, who died in 2018, ran the distance in three minutes and 59.4 seconds.

Runners of all ages and abilities will take part in the Bannister Community Mile through the centre of Oxford from 09:00 BST.

Roger Bannister
The running event is in celebration of the life and legacy of Sir Roger [PA Media]

It has been organised by Oxford University Athletic Club and the university, with support from Oxfordshire County Council.

Waves of runners will depart from St Aldate’s, progress down the High Street before finishing on Iffley Road, with runners collecting their medal on the famous track.

Later in the day, there will be a series of track races and a presentation of World Athletics Heritage Plaques.

The Bodleian Libraries is featuring a display of archive highlights on Sir Roger's life at Weston Library's Blackwell Hall.

Sir Roger described setting the record in front of a cheering crowd of about 3,000 people "the moment of a lifetime".

He went on to win a Commonwealth and a European Championship gold medal.

But he retired from athletics at the end of 1954 to pursue his medical studies, specialising in research and treatment of the the body's automatic functions, such as heartbeat, blood pressure and digestion.

He became a distinguished neurologist and died in March 2018, aged 88.

His son Thurstan Bannister said the Bannister Community Mile "will be exciting to watch", adding that many runners "will find them so inspiring".

::BBC Radio Oxford is broadcasting live from the Iffley Road track.

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